Saturday, May 27, 2017
Perchance to Dream
I come from a family of tea-drinkers. Three of my grandparents were immigrants from the British Isles (Donegal, Antrim, Aberdeen). On the fourth side, they were nearly all Brits for generations back. My great-grandmother Caroline who immigrated to the US from Nova Scotia always had tea every afternoon. She had a little kerosene burner to hold the teapot so that it would stay nice and hot right until the last drop. (The little burner stands now among my collection of teapots.) My stepfather was of mainly French Canadian extraction; he drank strong coffee all day long. None of the rest of us could understand that.
But I live in the South. The big thing here is sweet iced tea. Very sweet. So sweet that it makes your jaws ache just thinking about it. This is one matter in which I am very much an outsider. I was raised to drink tea hot and never sweet. I was always taught that sugary tea was only for when you'd had a shock to "buck you up" (one of those old English expressions so beloved by my family) or if you were feeling very poorly.
This morning I made myself a mug of very sweet tea.
Why? Well, I slept so strangely that I woke feeling lost and confused.
I was a bit overtired last night. (That's one of the things about having ME: the more tired you are, the less likely you are to find rest.) So I woke up in a hot sweaty panic at 3 AM and stayed awake until about 5:30. The problem was that I went back to sleep.....and then I had the sort of dream that hits me every so often when I'm exhausted.
In the dream, I'm aware of being very tired so I go to sleep. And because I'm asleep again, I continue to dream. In the second dream, everything is darker and often more threatening but I'm so tired that I go to sleep. In the third dream, it's darker still and I'm even more tired; even though there's trouble on the horizon, I can't keep my eyes open so I go to sleep. In the fourth dream.....Well, you get the idea. The deepest I've ever gone is the ninth level. I'll never forget it. I almost couldn't wake up. I had to climb up stairs in each level from deep, deep, deep down in a very, very, very dark place. And it took a couple of days to fully recover from the difficulty of the dreams and the waking.
My mother used to say that she thought it must be "like diving down to death." She wasn't wrong about that.
This morning I again had trouble waking after a journey to the fourth level. Two hours later, I'm still feeling stunned. It was definitely a sweet tea situation, and I'm now considering a second mug.
Although I've looked online and researched books, I've not found a satisfactory answer as to why I dream within a dream within a dream within a dream. Spiralling downward level after level is like going somewhere that you can never fully return from.
Part of me seems missing somehow. I'm sleepy still and honestly actually having trouble keeping my eyes open but I'm deliberately willing myself to not go there because I don't want to have to go back down level after level. Yeah, I'm gonna go put the kettle on again. And I'll get the sugar container. Maybe I'll have a piece of toast with Marmite, too.
Life is good.....even if it is a little muddled right now.